Hamilton in talks with Mercedes over new contract

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Lewis Hamilton says he has started negotiations with Mercedes over a new contract to stay with the team beyond this season.

The seven-time champion signed only a one-year deal last winter, but has indicated several times that he is keen to race on.

“Not a lot to say too much on, but we have had discussions and things are positive,” he said.

Hamilton also indicated he would be happy for Valtteri Bottas to stay.

The Finn is out of contract this season and team boss Toto Wolff has yet to decide whether to keep Bottas or replace him with Williams driver George Russell, who starred on a one-off appearance substituting for Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

“Valtteri is my team-mate now,” Hamilton said, “and both of us have had ups and downs in our careers but he is a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.

“We have worked well for many years. Valtteri has been my best team-mate overall and when I say team-mate it’s not just driver performance, it’s about team morale and how you work in the team-mate environment.”

Asked whether he would welcome the prospect of Russell at the team, Hamilton said: “He’s not my team-mate currently so no need to say anything on it.”

Wolff said at last weekend’s French Grand Prix that he wanted to spend more time observing Bottas and Russell this season before making a final decision which of them would be signed.

“Two drivers for one seat and two who can still have a great career in F1,” Wolff said. “I want to just see Valtteri’s full potential this year and continue to observe George driving for Williams and handling the situation.” (BBC Sport)

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